Open Source: Investment’s Hidden Gem

On February 24th, 2018; Ingressive paired with Rising Tide Africa to present a course designed to highlight the intersection of two opposing ideas. We introduced open source, platforms where developers openly share the software they built for others to use and build upon for free. Then we taught our followers how to monetize it. Yes, taking something that is as free as the air we breathe and use it as an investment strategy, an entrepreneurial growth hack, or a money-making venture. Either it’s too good to be true or you missed out…

When Google announced its support of thousands of open source projects while investing millions, this grabbed our attention. When we explained how Mozilla made a free search engine only for Yahoo to come and willingly offer $375M for something that wasn’t for sale, people sat up in their seats in their seats and started taking notes. When WordPress representatives, an open source company valued at over $1 billion, began chiming in, the reality of our material set in. This might give a bit of premise as to why our primary sponsor, GitHub, is driving resources to grow usership in Sub-Saharan Africa. Maybe you missed out, but don’t worry, this isn’t our first nor last attempt at what we see as a need within our community.

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The big names and massive pay days can all be googled, but the beauty of this event was in the diversity of the attendees. Ingressive ecosystem hangouts are geared towards convening all parties that stand to benefit from participating in the tech ecosystem. That is everyone. In attendance were developers, designers, CEOs, and investors all learning and sharing together. When someone asked about smart contracts we had both the developers to create them and a law firm in attendance to provide feedback. Angel investors were in attendance to provide insight on how to prepare for funding. Our connection to a reputable banking firm allowed our attendees to gain insight on funding and business development. This ecosystem hangout was literally a one stop shop to start and scale any business you could think of in a way that was profitable and sustainable.
 
The major take-away from this event was how we opened the eyes of community with the information shared. Entrepreneurs were exposed to currently available open source software that enabled them to build a website, manage customer relations, access ways to manage accounts and invoices, and organize work flow. Everything was free, we didn’t even charge admission.

The course was broken down into three subtopics and lead by industry influencers using open source to build their businesses. Damilola Olokesusi of Shuttlers.ng, introduced the subject matter from the perspective of a non-tech founder with her topic “Open Source: The New Lean Operations Strategy.” Ike Okosa, of E-Worker built upon this and got a bit more technical with his speech called “Monetizing Open Source.” And finally, Yele Bademosi of MicroTraction, took us home as he spoke on “Open Source: The New Investor Gold Mine.” There was literally something for everyone.

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The best part of this was our hangout encompassing the spirit of open source. The moderator, Sean Burrowes, commented that “The entirety of our professional experiences serves as our individual source codes, by sharing these experiences and helping each other grow, we in effect create our own open source society.”

Entrepreneurs armed with new information sought out knowledgeable developers to help them integrate tech into their business ventures. Investors reached out to entrepreneurs to gain insight into their business needs to serve as mentors and potentially provide funding. Developers and designers spoke with seasoned entrepreneurs about the soft skills needed to turn code into a business instead of a one-time purchase. After witnessing the need we are in the process of creating a new group, Entrepreneurial Development Group Africa (EDG Africa) to ensure a constant supply of resources to those who need it most.